Iraq fails 11 of 18 benchmarks, but Congress manages to get even lower marks. Onward through the fog!
The title of this post pretty much says it all. The putative government of Iraq has failed 11 of the 18 benchmarks the US congress set for it, partially met 3, and fully met 4. What does it mean? Pretty much the same old same old. Nothing. Congress’s policy on Iraq remains unchanged: Give Bush what he asks for and line their pockets. If the war goes well, they take credit for supporting the president. If the war goes badly, they blame Bush. It’s called politics, and not in the good sense of the word politics.
The public has other benchmarks for Congress, even today’s reality show dulled public, they would like something like leadership from Congress, our so called leaders. We’re not getting it which explains why approval of Congress is hovering around historic lows, under 30% of Americans approve of how Congress is doing their job. Bush gets slightly higher ratings, but in general American’s confidence in their institutions are at all time lows. Good times, yeah.
Not surprising, all the spin in the world can’t hide the fact that Congress doesn’t actually debate anything or do anything anymore. I love how the media just goes along with it too, anyone noticed that their is no more pork barrel spending in Congress now? Nope. They changed the name, they are called “earmarks” now. Congress is stealing our money and passing it out to their corporate sponsors, they call it earmarks and the media just plays right along. Couldn’t find a better example of how our mainstream “free” press has turned into little more than a corporate advertising vehicle.
As for Iraq, it’s still a bloody mess. It all depends on who’s talking, but most of the good news is conditional. For example, they calmed down Fallujah some…by banning all vehicle traffic. Overall levels of violence and displacement remain high by any standards, and the British are quietly pulling out of of Basra. The Administration still wants us to hang in there, and hints maybe there will be troop cuts next year. These are the guys who told us invading Iraq would make things better, since it clearly (and predictably) has made things worse, so I’m not terribly inclined to give them much credence. Not like we have much choice though, as I noted Congress isn’t going to do anything.
To round things out a bit, Pakistan is a mess now as well. Militants are holding hundreds of Pakistani troops hostage and demanding that Pakistan return to a 2005 agreement that left seven of Pakistan’s border provinces (Waziristan) virtually autonomous. The power and influence of the Taliban has grown considerably in the region since, and Musharraf sent troops into the region to try and re-establish order, or at least get the American’s off his back. The administration has been demanding that he do something and threatening to take action themselves. Some are betting that at the current rate Pakistan will soon be the first fundamentalist Islamic state with nuclear weapons. I wouldn’t bet against the idea.
And so go the benchmarks in the “war on terror.” As always I’m optimistic, things could be going so much worse. Tomorrow I will blog about something more uplifting, using puppies for organ transplants or the like.
(The above image of British troops in Waziristan in 1940 is believed to have been released to public domain by the copyright holder. Centuries of western military intervention and the whole region still refuses to play by our rules, go figure. Credit: Worcestershire Regimen.)